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Joy and I were watching Little Women, the 1994 version directed by Gillian Armstrong. Joy is a big Louisa May Alcott fan, something I never was; I got through Little Women once, whereas she read all of LMA’s books for children until the covers were falling off. “She was a Unitarian, you know,” I said. Like some Jews and Canadians, I can’t stop myself from collecting and displaying members of my small tribe .

“I know,” Joy said, with a slight rolling of the eyes. “And you know something? She never said anything about being Unitarian in anything I read. I guess this business of Unitarians not telling anyone they exist goes back a long time.”

“Maybe she thought of herself more as a Transcendentalist,” I said. (According to the Dictionary of Unitarian & Universalist Biography, Alcott never joined a Unitarian church despite her close associations with the religion via family and friends.)

“Still,” said Joy. Yes. Still.


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